Today, I’m excited to share this doodle review of These Are The Moments by Jenny Bravo.
Like a lot of you, I’ve been tracking Jenny’s progress on #TATM (yep, it has its own hashtag) over at BlotsandPlots.com.
*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. And by “received,” I mean I begged Jenny to send me an advanced review copy because I couldn’t stand the wait any longer!
As a YA/NA (young adult / new adult) book, These Are The Moments is the missing link between sweet young adult love stories like Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and classic romances like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
First, here’s the jacket copy for some context:
You can’t go back. You can’t go back. You can’t go back.
Ten years ago, Wendy Lake fell in love with Simon Guidry, who grew up and went away. Now, not much has changed. She’s back at home, back from college, almost back to normal. Until Wendy’s best friend gets engaged, sending Simon ricocheting back into her life, and leaving Wendy with the questions she’s been struggling to ignore.
Do people ever really change? Do two people, who can never make it work, actually make it right? And most importantly, does she even want to?
I made three watercolor doodles of my favorite scenes (watercolor paintings are big theme in the book.) Here are three things I learned from These Are The Moments about what makes a good love story beyond “Boy Meets Girl.”
1. Boy meets girl… and they reluctantly spend time together.
These Are The Moments is the story of Wendy, the maid of honor in a wedding that she can’t help dread and cheer for at the same time. Simon and Wendy are forced to relive their history when their best friends get engaged.
Think Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth is forced to spend extra time with Darcy during Jane and Bingley’s courtship. In Eleanor and Park, Eleanor is forced to sit in the only empty seat on the bus next to Park. Naturally, this arrangement adds tons of delicious tension!
2. Girl Leans on Her Sisters During Times of Heartbreak.
These Are the Moments is the story of Wendy, the big sister of Claudia, and their semi-parallel small town love lives, heartbreaks, and yard forking revenge.
Wendy’s relationship with her younger sister allows them to discuss and analyze their love lives (and avoid too much inner monologue). Wendy is worried about Claudia but doesn’t know quite how to help.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett frets over Lydia’s behavior, and in Eleanor and Park, Eleanor worries about her younger sister with her stepdad.
By showing the relationship with younger sisters, the reader knows that Wendy, Elizabeth, and Eleanor have deeper concerns than just boy problems.
3. Girl Cannot Stop Thinking About Boy
Why can’t Wendy just forget about Simon? Because Wendy and Simon have that strange, undeniable attraction. The kind where they lock eyes and it always goes back to where they left off– where small talk is for show for everyone else at the party.
And because of that understanding, they put up with a lot of hurt from each other. When Simon’s not around, Wendy paints scenes from their relationship to get her emotions out.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth thinks of Darcy fondly as she walks the grounds at Pemberly, the estate where he grew up. In Eleanor and Park, Eleanor listens to the mix tapes that Park made her when he is not around. These kind of scenes show (rather than tell) how much the love interest has gotten under the heroine’s skin!
I Heart #TATM
These Are The Moments falls into both the young adult and new adult genres because there are dual timelines–each chapter alternates between “then” (high school and college) and “now” (new grad still living at home).
I usually think of the main question in contemporary YA stories to be “How can I escape high school/my parents?” and the main question in NA stories to be “When are we going to go all the way?”
Jenny Bravo explores a different question in this blended genre novel: “What choices should I make to start living my life?”
Should Wendy take that promotion to be a paralegal, or should she chase her dreams of being a watercolor painter? How should she deal with her friends making uber-adult choices like getting married? Is she in any kind of position to give advice to her little sister? And what should she do about Simon– despite or because of all of their history?
These Are The Moments is a beautiful, funny, and touching novel about what it means to be at the crossroads of high school, college, and “real life.” These are the days of jealousy, joy, and indecision that pave the way to adulthood, whatever that is. It’s impossible not to find yourself within the changing friendships of this book, and the relationships will resonate with you long after you finish the last page. These Are The Moments by Jenny Bravo is available now as a paperback or kindle ebook.